Trustee Larry J. Merlo Receives Pitt’s Top Alumni Honor

Issue Date: 
October 21, 2016

University of Pittsburgh trustee Larry J. Merlo, president and chief executive officer of CVS Health, has been named Pitt’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Fellow. The award recognizes alumni with extraordinary records of professional achievement and community service.

Merlo received the award during an Oct. 6 dinner in Alumni Hall’s J.W. Connolly Ballroom.

Larry J. Merlo

Merlo has served as president of CVS Health since May 2010 and as CEO since March 2011, playing a key role in developing the company into the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States.

An executive at CVS Health since 1990, Merlo has spearheaded several initiatives aimed at making the company a leader in pharmaceutical innovation. In 2014, he announced that CVS Health would stop selling tobacco in all of its stores, becoming the first major retail pharmacy to do so. Under his leadership, the company has developed apprenticeship programs for pharmaceutical technicians, provided scholarships to pharmacy students, and worked to encourage students from underrepresented communities to consider STEM careers. CVS Health also has established programs for the long-term unemployed and has committed to hiring qualified veterans and their spouses.

Earlier this year, Merlo was named to Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” list. Other recent distinctions include being named a Businessperson of the Year by Fortune magazine and a Wealth Creator by Chief Executive magazine. He is also a recipient of the Champion Award from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The White House recognized Merlo as a leader in the pharmacy industry, inviting him to sit in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box during the 2015 State of the Union Address. Merlo also received Pitt’s 2010 School of Pharmacy Distinguished Alumni Award and was named a Pitt Legacy Laureate in 2008.

The son of a machinist and homemaker, Merlo was the first member of his family to attend college. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Pitt’s School of Pharmacy in 1978. He was elected to Pitt’s Board of Trustees in 2013. Merlo and his wife, Lee Ann Merlo (A&S ’77), endowed the Larry and Lee Ann Merlo Student Leadership Fund Award, providing need-based assistance to students in Pitt’s Doctor of Pharmacy Program.